Sharing the Monopoly on Violence? Shall-issue Concealed Handgun License Laws and Responsibilization

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Sociology and Criminology


Crime, Law, Deviance, Firearms, Shall-issue, Collective security


Although research has examined if concealed handgun licensing laws may affect crime rates by enabling gun carry in public, the determinants of these policies have received less attention. Drawing on the thesis of the new criminologies of everyday life and the more recent conceptualization of sovereign subjects, this study posits that the expansion of shall-issue concealed handgun laws in the United States is a product of low-collective security in states. Understanding that shall-issue laws reflect state efforts to responsibilize firearm carrying, shall-issue laws are more likely to become state policy when a state has lower rates of police officers and lower per capita spending on police and corrections. Results from discrete-time, event history analyses indicate that shall-issue laws are, indeed, related to reduced capacities to provide collective security, independent of competing political and social correlates. This understanding of why states adopt such gun laws appears to be unique to shall-issue laws and has little explanatory power for newer unrestricted concealed handgun laws.

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